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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Complexities of Mate Choice: Quantitative Genetics, Multiple Signals and Mate Choice Strategy

  • Author(s): Prokuda, Alexandra Yevgenyevna
  • Advisor(s): Roff, Derek A
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

The first chapter provides a comprehensive review of the quantitative genetics of sexually selected traits, preference for those traits, and the correlation between them. The review shows that the average heritability of sexually selected traits is the same as that of non-sexually selected traits. The data also show that the average heritability of preference is lower than previously reported and that the heritability of sexually selected traits decreases as the correlation between the trait and female preference increases. The second and third chapters explore female preferences for male traits in Gryllus firmus. In the second chapter the experiment shows that females choose based on multiple components of the male calling song. Although many of the components do not have a significant effect when looked at separately, as many as 6 song components and 2 other variables contribute to female choice when put together in a multivariate model. The third chapter shows that female strategy for choosing males based on song duration alone is passive, suggesting that females do not actively compare different males but go to the male that is singing at the time that she is choosing. This strategy is contrary to what is assumed under the indicator mechanisms of mate choice and may be informative to the study of the origins of mate choice.

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